Tag Archives: premises liability

$2.75 Million Premises Liability — Woman Suffers Broken Neck, Brain Injury From Falling Object

New York – A woman was walking along when a piece of stone facade collapsed off the side of a Brooklyn building. The collapse debris hit her in the head and neck, leaving her with a spinal fracture in her neck and a traumatic brain injury with concussion. After being hospitalized for several weeks and undergoing fusion surgery of her neck, the woman sought the legal guidance of the experts at Morrison & Wagner to file a negligent repair negligence lawsuit. They settled the case with the defendants agreeing to pay the injury victim $2,750,000.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Bruce Monroe [License]

— — —

Woman’s neck fractured by falling piece of building’s facade (VerdictSearch by Priya Idiculla)

Settlement: $2,750,000

— — —

Court: Kings Supreme, Kings County, New York

Injury Type(s): brain damage; cognition, impairment; compression fracture; concussion; corpectomy; discectomy; effusion; finger; fracture, C4; fracture, neck; fracture, vertebra; fusion, cervical; hand; hardware implanted; head; memory impairment; physical therapy; pneumonia; shoulder; sutures; traumatic brain injury; trigger point injection; vertigo

Case Type: Premises Liability – Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance – Falling Object

Date: November 4, 2016

Plaintiff Attorney(s):
Eric H. Morrison; Morrison & Wagner; New York, NY

— — —

Facts & Allegations:
On Sept. 22, 2014, the plaintiff, an unemployed woman, was struck by a limestone fragment that had fallen off of the fourth-story facade of a building located in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. The woman sustained injuries of her head and neck.

The woman sued the premises’ owner and the premises’ manager. She alleged that the defendants were negligent in their maintenance of the premises. She further alleged that the defendants’ negligence caused the accident.

The plaintiff’s counsel contended that the accident was a result of prolonged neglect of the building’s exterior. He contended that photographs depicted chips, cracks and other irregularities of the facade.

Defense counsel contended that the accident may have been a result of erosion caused by power-washing of the building, but he ultimately conceded liability.

The injury victim’s head was struck and lacerated by the limestone fragment. She was placed in an ambulance, and she was transported to Lutheran Medical Center, in Brooklyn. Doctors determined that she sustained a concussion and a compression fracture of her C4 vertebra. Her scalp’s laceration was closed via application of sutures. After four days had passed, she underwent surgery that included a corpectomy, which involved excision of her C4 vertebra; a discectomy, which involved excision of the anterior portion of her C3-4 and C4-5 intervertebral discs; fusion of the anterior region of her spine’s C3-4 and C4-5 levels; and implantation of a stabilizing cage. During her convalescence, she developed pneumonia and pleural effusion. Her hospitalization lasted about two weeks. She subsequently underwent physical therapy and a pain-management regimen, which included administration of painkilling trigger-point injections.

The accident victim claimed that her head’s injury caused damage of her brain, with residual effects that included confusion, disorientation, vertigo, and impairment of her memory and other elements of her cognition. She also claimed that her neck remains painful, that the pain radiates to her shoulders, and that her fingers and hands experience occasional tingling sensations. She undergoes periodic physical therapy.

The plaintiff sought recovery of past medical expenses, future medical expenses, damages for past pain and suffering, and damages for future pain and suffering.

Defense counsel contended that the woman did not sustain an injury of the brain.

After selection of a jury, but prior to the scheduled start of the trial, the parties negotiated a settlement. The defendant’s primary insurer tendered its policy, which provided $1 Million of coverage, and the defendant’s excess insurer agreed to pay $1.75 Million. Thus, the settlement totaled $2.75 Million. Defense counsel claimed that, had a trial occurred, a discovery issue may have prevented the plaintiff’s counsel’s presentation of a safety expert who had been retained.

— — —

Judge: Judge Donald Kurtz

Editor’s Note: This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel and defense counsel. Additional information was gleaned from court documents.

$350,000 Settlement :: Woman Suffers Burns From Apartment Bath Tub

New York — This 63-year-old woman suffered severe burns when she was scalded by burning hot water in the bathtub of her Manhattan apartment. She was upset with the building’s manager and owner for keeping the water in the boiler so dangerously hot. After consulting with an personal injury lawyer expert at Morrison & Wagner, the woman decided to sue the building’s owner and manager for damages. They recovered $350,000 in a successful settlement.

Illustrative Photo Credit: Laurel Kate Sittig [License]

— — —

Apartment’s tenant scalded in tub, claimed boiler was defective (VerdictSearch)

Settlement Amount: $350,000

— — —

Court: New York Supreme, New York County, New York

Injury Type(s): leg; burns – third degree; surgeries/treatment – skin graft

Case Type: Premises Liability – Apartment, Tenant’s Injury, Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance

Date: January 24, 2011

Plaintiff Attorney(s):
Eric H. Morrison; Morrison & Wagner; New York, NY

— — —


On Jan. 31, 2008, the plaintiff, a 63-year-old unemployed woman, was scalded while she was bathing in her residence, an apartment building that was located in the Hamilton Heights section of Manhattan.

The woman sued the building’s owner and the building’s manager. She alleged that the defendants were negligent in their maintenance of the premises.

The injured woman claimed that she entered her bathtub while the water was running at a comfortable temperature, but that the water’s temperature quickly reached a scalding level. The plaintiff’s counsel retained a boiler-safety expert, who examined the building’s water heater and claimed that its thermostat was set to 180 degrees Fahrenheit — 55 degrees greater than the temperature that had been recommended by the boiler’s manufacturer. The burn victim’s counsel also suggested that the thermostat may have been defective.

Defense counsel contended that the New York City Administrative Code specified that the thermostat’s setting had to exceed 120 degrees. She also contended that the building’s tenants had been told that they were not to bathe without first filling the tub and checking the water’s temperature. She claimed that the building’s staff had not received any written complaints of scalding water.


The plaintiff claimed that she sustained third-degree burns of her legs. She underwent the application of grafts of skin, and her treating surgeon opined that the legs have healed without any scars or residual effects.

The injury victim sought recovery of damages for her past pain and suffering.


Defense counsel moved for summary judgment. She contended that New York law specifies that an apartment building’s tenant retains a duty to temper hot water prior to use. In response, plaintiff’s counsel contended that a jury would have to consider the possibility that the boiler’s thermostat was defective. During pendency of the motion, the parties negotiated a settlement. The defendants’ insurer agreed to pay $350,000, from a policy that provided $1 million of coverage.

— — —

Judge: Richard F. Braun

Editor’s Comment: This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel.

$350,000 – Premises Liability – Slip & Fall Causes Ankle Fracture

When D. Kustov was 33 years old, she had a slip and fall accident while walking on private premises in Jamaica, New York. The accident caused her to break a bone in her ankle that required an open reduction internal fixation operation. The pain, swelling and difficulty walking remained and she was confined to bed for several weeks. Over that time, Ms. Kustov discussed her legal rights with the preeminent slip and fall injury lawyers of Morrison & Wagner, LLP in Manhattan. A grievance was filed against the property owner for negligent maintenance, along with a lawsuit for financial compensation. They asserted that the owner’s negligence created a dangerous condition that directly caused Kustov’s fall and injuries. After meticulous negotiation, the ankle injury victim won a settlement of $350,000 from the landlord of the property.

Read about more trip and fall cases here and here.

Photo by Wkc3 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

$ 1.45 Million Premises Liability Settlement – Man Electrocuted in Stairwell

Dennis Marruco was electrocuted while walking up the stairs of a New York financial institution. He sustained significant burns and a fracture of his left arm. In addition, the burn victim suffered a spinal injury with fractured vertebrae. Trauma surgeons performed an operation to repair his arm with plates and screws. Mr. Marruco explained that the real estate management company should have done their due diligence to prevent such an accident. He was left injured and knew that he needed help to recoup the money that he had lost due to the institution’s failure.

The 67-year-old accident victim approached the successful injury lawyers of Morrison & Wagner in Manhattan, New York with a simple phone call. They helped Marruco submit a premises liability lawsuit against the financial corporation and the realty management company. He demanded restitution for his accident injuries as well as his pain and suffering. The man’s diligent lawyer explained that negligent maintenance had been performed and therefore the defendants had not protected the public from an inevitable electrocution and injury. The defendants agreed to settle the lawsuit by paying the injured man $1,450,000. Here’s another premises liability case that was successfully handled by the winning attorneys of Morrison & Wagner, LLP.

Photo by Kevin.B (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

$500,000 for Injured Worker After Ceiling Collapsed On Her

Ms. Padilla was at work when the ceiling suddenly fell down onto her. She sustained injuries during the accident to her shoulder and spine. The injured victim underwent a complicated operation on her shoulder to repair the damages but never fully recovered. Her doctors sent her for physical therapy for the neck and back injuries as well as her shoulder injury. After being referred to the winning New York law office of Morrison & Wagner LLP, she explained the case to her accident attorney. Her experienced lawyer contacted all of the treating physicians and gathered the necessary details in order to file a premises liability lawsuit.

The team at Morrison & Wagner guided Ms. Padilla throughout the injury lawsuit and they succeeded in getting a settlement of $500,000 for the injury victim. Read about more premises liability cases and their successful outcomes here.

Photo by M. T. Harmon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

$ 4.5 Million Settlement - Premises Liability - Hole in Kitchen Floor Not Repaired

New York — A 38-year-old hospital cashier was in the apartment that she rented in the Bronx. While bringing a large saucepan to the sink in the kitchen, she stepped in an oval-shaped hole in the floor, causing her to trip and fall. As she fell, the woman spilled the boiling hot contents of the pan on herself, resulting in burn injuries in 18% of her body. The victim sued for damages that she suffered due to the accident injuries after consulting with the injury lawyers at Morrison & Wagner. The woman alleged that the defendants were negligent in their maintenance of the apartment and that their negligence created a dangerous condition. Justice prevailed and they reached a $4,580,000 settlement for the trip and fall victim.

Illustrative Photo by Chris Sampson [License]

— — —

Hole in kitchen floor not timely repaired, tenant alleged (VerdictSearch)

Settlement Amount: $4,580,000

— — —

Court: Bronx Supreme, Bronx County, New York

Injury Type(s): arm; arm-scar and/or disfigurement; leg; leg-scar and/or disfigurement; leg
burns-third degree; other-scar and/or disfigurement; surgeries/treatment-skin graft

Case Type: Premises Liability – Apartment, Trip and Fall, Tenant’s Injury, Dangerous Condition, Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance

Date: January 4, 2007

Plaintiff Attorney(s):
Stuart Wagner; Morrison & Wagner; New York, NY
Eric H. Morrison; Morrison & Wagner; New York, NY

— — —


On May 1, 2001, the plaintiff, 38, a hospital’s cashier, was in the apartment that she rented from Natasha and Hardial Singh and David and Surojni Farnum, at East 175th Street, in the Bronx. While the woman was bringing a large saucepan to the sink in the kitchen, she stepped in an oval-shaped hole in the floor, causing her to trip and fall. As she fell, the plaintiff spilled the boiling hot contents of the pan on herself, resulting in burns of her 18% of her body.

The accident victim and her family thought that she was a lawful tenant of the Singhs and Farnums. However, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc. had acquired ownership of the property at a foreclosure sale on April 12, 2001, as a result of the Singhs’ and Farnums’ delinquency on their mortgage payments. No one notified the woman of the foreclosure until she received a notice of eviction from Wells Fargo two days after her accident.

The plaintiff sued Norwest Mortgage Inc., which was the original mortgagor before being acquired by Wells Fargo; the court-appointed receiver who received the property during the foreclosure action; the Singhs; and the Farnums. The injury victim alleged that the defendants were negligent in their maintenance of the apartment and that their negligence created a dangerous condition.

Wells Fargo commenced a third-party action against Mortgage Contracting Services. It alleged that it hired Mortgage Contracting Services to perform monthly inspections of the property and that Mortgage Contracting Services was at least partially responsible.

Mortgage Contracting Services commenced a second third-party action against Quantum FACS Inc., Caretaker Properties Co. and Red Hawk Properties. Mortgage Contracting Services alleged that it hired the third-party defendants to perform interior repairs on the property and that they failed to do so.

Caretaker Properties failed to appear at trial, and a default judgment was entered. The court-appointed receiver was dismissed via pretrial summary judgment because it was determined that she had no management duties for the property. The matter continued against the remaining defendants.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendants failed to repair the hole in her floor. She contended that the defendants had known of the problems with the kitchen because the City of New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development had regularly cited the Singhs and Farnums for code violations for hazardous disrepair to the premises, including her kitchen. She also contended that when employees from Quantum FACS and Red Hawk Properties had come by to perform repairs, she informed an inspector of the problems with her kitchen. The woman claimed that the original owners were negligent because they continued to falsely represent themselves as the owner of record and accept her rental payments. She also claimed that Wells Fargo was negligent because it was the true property owner.

The injured woman’s counsel claimed that he discovered that Wells Fargo had been penalized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for failing to complete the foreclosure action within the time requirements of federal law.

The Singhs and Farnums contended that Wells Fargo’s acquisition at foreclosure six weeks before the woman’s accident relieved them of any subsequent liability for open and obvious defects of the premises. They further claimed that Mr. Farnum had abandoned the property shortly after the plaintiff’s family moved in and that his wife moved out one month before the accident. They moved to be let out of the case on summary judgment.

Wells Fargo contended that, as an out-of-possession owner, it had neither actual nor constructive notice, especially since it had never physically entered the premises. It alleged that Mortgage Contracting Services was responsible for any problems with the property because Mortgage Contracting Services was hired to inspect it. It also denied that it ever had contact or communication with anyone still living at the property. Wells Fargo also moved to be let out on summary judgment.

Mortgage Contracting Services asserted that its contractual responsibility to Wells Fargo was only to inspect the property from the outside and not to actually go inside or effect repairs. It also contended that it had reported to Wells Fargo that the building was occupied, but in disrepair and had hired Quantum FACS and Red Hawk Properties to do repairs that might need to be done, making them contractually indemnified. It also moved to be let out on summary judgment.

The court denied all motions for summary judgment.


The plaintiff sustained third-degree burns throughout her legs, arms and torso. She was hospitalized for one month and underwent five separate split-thickness graft surgeries. She was left with keloid scarring of about 18% of her body surface, including her wrist, arms, legs and stomach.

The injured woman claimed that she missed three months of work as a result of her injuries. She did not need any follow-up care for her injuries after returning to work, but she claimed that she needed to see a psychiatrist on an outpatient basis five times over the ensuing five years. She sought recovery for damages for her past and future pain and suffering.

The defendants did not dispute the plaintiff’s burn scars as a result of her accident.


The matter went to mediation before retired judge Milton Mollen at JAMS/ENDISPUTE, but it settled outside of mediation for $4.58 Million prior to trial. Of the total settlement, Wells Fargo agreed to contribute $4.5 Million, and the insurer of the Farnums and the Singhs agreed to contribute $80,000 from its $100,000 policy.

— — —

Judge: Douglas E. McKeon

Editor’s Comment:
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs’ and counsel of the Farnums, Mortgage Contracting Services, Quantum FACS, Red Hawk Properties, the Singhs and Wells Fargo. Counsel of Caretaker Properties, the court-appointed receiver and Norwest Mortgage was not asked to contribute.